By John Martin
Football and success are synonymous at Jones High School.
When the Longhorns launch their 2020 season, Coach Dave Martin and his crew will be seeking the Longhorns; sixth consecutive district championship which translates to trips to the OSSAA State Championship playoffs.
There’s also that State Championship they won in 2016.
Jones remains in Class 2A-2 but a new threat to their district championship streak has emerged with traditional state power Millwood added to the league.
When the Falcons come to Tim Wallace Stadium in Jones on October 23, the outcome could not only determine the district title but also chart the playoff schedule for both teams.
The district winner earns the advantage of hosting the first two rounds of the post-season playoffs while the runner-up is assured only one. Both teams have grown accustomed to hosting those two games in the post-season.
In addition to Millwood, Crossings Christian and Star-Spencer will also join the new
alignment, along with Chandler, Kellyville, Meeker and Prague from the old District 2A.
LINCOLN CHRISTIAN has proven to be a stumbling block for the Longhorns the past two seasons as the Class 3A power from Tulsa handed Jones its only regular season loss the past two seasons.
The Bulldogs are defending state Class 3A champions and Jones will make the long drive to Tulsa the second week of the season for their annual early-season showdown, which should serve as an excellent boost to Carson May and Co. as they prep for league action.
Martin and his crew should be battle tested by the time they reach playoff action as all three of their non-district foes were State Championship qualifiers a year ago.
The Longhorns will journey to Bethany to open the season on August 28 against a Bronco team that finished atop the Class 4A-4 District that also included Blanchard and Tuttle. Bethany defeated Clinton, 20-0, in first round action at State before being eliminated by Wagoner in a tense 21-14 contest.
After the game in Tulsa with LCA, the Longhorns will officially open their home season with traditional neighborhood rival Luther providing the competition. The Lions also qualified for the State 2A playoffs a year ago and defeated Chandler, 26-8, in first round action. The Lions were eliminated by Sperry in the second round.
In all, 7 of the Longhorns’ 10 opponents qualified for the State playoffs a year ago which increases the odds for the Jones Boys to claim a 7th straight district crown.
Following the Luther game, Jones will have a week off before opening district play with a home contest against nearby Star-Spencer. The Bobcats were 5-5 a year ago in Class 3A before dropping to 2A for the current campaign.
Next will be a visit to Chandler, where the Lions will be looking for a repeat visit to the state tournament. They were 6-5 a year ago, losing to Luther in the first round of the playoffs.
Another new name on the schedule is Crossings Christian, which finished 6-5 a year ago, losing their first round contest in the playoffs. Crossings, Millwood and Star-Spencer replace Okemah, Henryetta and Holdenville in district play.
The Fall Break Thursday game on Oct. 15 will be at Kellyville, which finished the 2019 season with a 2-8 record followed by the showdown with Millwood the following week. Prague, 3-7 a year ago, and Meeker, which compiled an 8-4 record and finished runner-up to Jones a year ago, conclude the regular season.
The Longhorns are ranked No. 5 in the Class 2A preseason poll, just a step behind Millwood which comes in at No. 4.
Photos by Ryan Horton
Jones offense again loaded
The Jones Longhorns have long been known as the home of D-1 quarterbacks which in turn has produced staggering offensive numbers.
2020 holds lots of uncertainties, both on and off the football field, but offense for the Longhorns is a sure thing.
Enroute to their sixth district championship in a row in the 2019 season, the 10-2 Longhorns had no trouble finding the end zone, averaging 44.1 points per game which could have been higher had not the starters rested for much of the second half in over half the games.
Likewise, the defensive stats were stilted, with the average yield of 15.8 per game mostly acquired against Longhorn reserves.
Juniors Carson May and Korbin Cox put up more than 3,500 yards between them, again seeing limited action at the conclusion of at least six contests. And to the delight of Coach Dave Martin and his staff, both studs have yet another year of eligibility for the Longhorns after this season.
As a sophomore, May claimed his spot alongside the former standouts at the helm of the Longhorn Express as he connected for 2,317 yards and 22 touchdowns through the air and has beefed up to 200 pounds on his 6-5 frame for his junior campaign.
The youthful Green Curtain offensive line provided plenty of protection for May to throw but he unleashed some scrambles from the pocket that had opposing coaches pulling their hair out.
With Cox, Elijah Reed and super sophomore Xavier Zackery returning to bolster the JHS running attack, May doesn’t need to run, but his competitiveness and improved physical condition will always be a threat.
Cox wasn’t even a starter to begin his sophomore season, but it didn’t take him long to adjust to the huge holes punched out for him by the offensive line as he gained 1,255 yards in the 12 games.
With versatile Daniel Jackson lost to graduation, Cox will see an increased role in the passing game while the super-speedy Reed is a threat both on the ground and as a receiver out of the backfield.
The 5-8, 189 pound Zackery came on strong topping the 100 yard mark several times while dominating JV competition.
ZACK KNOX, the slender junior with an explosive leg is a vital part of the Longhorn O. The prolific offense doesn’t create much need for field goals but Knox has range and accuracy when needed, along with automatic PAT’s.
The reliable In addition to his backfield mates, May will welcome back Tye Tucker, the Longhorns leading receiver until he was injured early in the season a year ago as well as junior Cadyn Karl, defensive ace Trey Dorrell, tight end Max Wynn, Kameron Sweat, Emmett Murphy, Colten Jasper and several freshmen prospects.
Big and experienced describes the 2020 version of the Green Wall anchored by Wynn, the 6-5, 220 pound tight end and senior 300-pound Aaron Conover, juniors Jack Corbin (285), center Jonathan Dolan (210), Reese Webb, who reported to camp at 330 pounds and sophomore Ryan Keester.
Kameron Estrada was dominant as a freshman and the 6-2, 230-pounder could see lots of action on both sides of the ball during his sophomore campaign Juniors Braiden Martin and Tj Thompson could also see more action with the offense.
May and Co. will limber up for the most competitive district the Longhorns have faced in years with early season games against 4A power Bethany, defending State 3A champion Lincoln Christian and State Qualifying neighbor Luther.
Dorrell sparks Jones ‘D’
While Carson May and the explosive Jones offense garner most of the headlines, senior Trey Dorrell and his defensive buddies plan to make some noise of their own during the Longhorns’ quest for a sixth straight district championship in 2020.
The Longhorns’ 2020 schedule includes seven teams that qualified for the OSSAA State Playoffs a year ago, including District 2A foes Crossings Christian, Meeker, Millwood and Chandler.
All three non-district foes, State 3A Champion Lincoln Christian, Bethany and Luther made it to State a year ago.
So, the multi-talented 5-11, 170 pound Dorrell and his mates will have stiff challenges almost weekly.
Not only does Dorrell direct the D from his cornerback slot, leading the team in interceptions the past two seasons, he also ranks high in tackles, fighting off blocks and then takes a turn as a wide receiver for the May Experience.
For good measure, Dorrell also handles the punting duties for the Longhorns.
Jones gave up just over two touchdowns per contest a year ago, which is misleading since most of the scoring came late in games with Longhorn reserves on the field.
Hyram Kaskaske and Readon Dunham are gone but there is a stable of eager, talented, big and experienced defenders waiting to step into their shoes.
Offensive stars Tye Tucker (6-2, 185), back at full strength after missing the last part of last season, and leading rusher Korbin Cox (5-9, 190) will double over with the D, with 300-pounders Aaron Conover, a multiple winner of the Defensive Player of the Game award a year ago, and Reese Webb anchoring the front wall.
DEFENSIVE ENDS Max Wynn (6-5, 225) and Anthony Rangel (6-1, 195), a pair of seniors with a blend of talent and experience team with Defensive Player of the Game honoree from 2019 Kameron Estrada (a 6-2, 230- pound sophomore) and Tj Thompson, who had four fumble recoveries for the Longhorns to spell doom for the opponents.
Junior Braiden Martin, a 5-8, 155-pound junior, will be back to bolster the already talented defensive secondary, along with 6-3 Isaac Foster and soph speedster, 5-10, 150-pound Foster Moore.
Two of the holdovers from last year’s District lineup, Kellyville (2-8) and Prague (3-7) are the only squads on the schedule that posted losing records a year ago. Star-Spencer compiled a 5-5 record while competing in Class 3A before dropping to 2A for the next two years.
After clashing with the Murderer’s Row trio of Bethany, Lincoln Christian and Luther, Coach Dave Martin and his Longhorns will enjoy a bye week before launching District play.
Star-Spencer will visit Tim Wallace Stadium to open district play on Sept. 25 followed by a visit to Chandler (6-5) to test the Lions and then a return home on Oct. 9 to meet Crossings Christian (6-5).
During Fall Break, the Longhorns will go to Kellyville to set the stage for the epic showdown at home against Millwood, which could be the Game of the Week in the state.
The Longhorns will wrap up the regular season with a visit to Prague and then finish with Meeker, 9-3 a year ago and runner-up to Jones in district play.